Clay Finklea

Clay Finklea

Lead This Gen Pastor

Listen to Him

I have a confession to make… I, Clay Finklea, am a terrible listener.
Do I listen to things all the time? Yes, yes I do. I almost always have a podcast, a baseball game, or a tv show going into my ears, sometimes simultaneously, because I don’t like to be in the quiet. However this background noise effect has turned me into quite the horrific listener.
 
In conversations I have to actively listen in order to keep up. Otherwise I will hear you but not really HEAR you. Katie says I have “Selective hearing” or at least I believe that is what she says. Who knows. 
Have I pretended to not hear Keeley cry in the middle of the night? No. I actually have never done that because Katie would probably kick me out.
 
Either way the point remains– I am a bad listener. In the moments I have listened though, my life has gotten dramatically better. 
The point of everything I am writing today is: If you listen to the right things, your life gets better. 
That’s why I found the scripture we read this week to be so interesting. In Mark 9:7, “Then a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my dearly loved Son. Listen to him.”
 
From the moment I started preparing for last week’s sermon, I preached this scripture, and am now writing about it… That line “Listen to him” sticks out to me like a Dad standing a full head above everyone at the venue because he was forced to bring his daughter to a Justin Bieber concert. It sticks out to me because I do believe that there are people who hear that we should listen to God, but they don’t fully understand why they should or why it’s important.
 
My aim for this short time together is to help you understand why it is important because I know some don’t see the why. It sounds like it’s just something you should say, it sounds like it really doesn’t matter, it sounds like something that has no weight. 
However, listening to God is one of the best things that we can do because – If you listen to the right things, your life gets better. 
The First reason we should listen to Jesus is because Jesus is God. This whole story was an incredible moment of Peter, James, and John truly realizing that Jesus wasn’t just a man, he wasn’t just a good teacher, he wasn’t even just the messiah. He was God! The glory that was shown here was a sign to them that there were two parts to Jesus… Fully man, but also fully God. 
It actually goes a step further than that culturally. Think about what is happening in Mark 9:2-4, “As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed, 3 and his clothes became dazzling white, far whiter than any earthly bleach could ever make them. 4 Then Elijah and Moses appeared and began talking with Jesus.
 
Jesus is being shown as different. Then all of a sudden Elijah and Moses show up. This would be like me going to a football game watching Peyton Manning in his prime then all of the sudden 2 O.G.’s such as Jerry Rice and Walter Payton show up to the game to play too. For Peter, James, and John this was one of the most incredible things of all time; these were heroes of their faith that they would drop anything and everything for because they are the two most historically important people to the culture at this point. 
YET.
 
God looks at them and says that Jesus is his son and they need to listen to him. This was a sign that the torch was passed, that the old ways were gone, and that Jesus should be held in higher esteem than anything or anyone. 
The way that I look at this is that in our lives there are a lot of things that we listen to from our past. We need to stop listening to those things and start listening to Jesus instead. That could be social media, a bottle of wine, or the mirror… there are a lot of things that we could mention, but you get it…. We have to get rid of the old things that spoke to us and listen to the new. That new is Jesus and when we listen to Jesus because he is God, life gets better.
 
It doesn’t stop there on the reason that we should listen though, the other reason is because Jesus is GOOD. 
Peter’s testimony is a perfect example of this. His life, as well as James and John’s, was completely different after this. That doesn’t mean they didn’t mess up still, but it was something that affected them and changed them into something better.
 
I say this because of the words Peter said later in his life from 1 Peter 1:21-25,Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because he raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory. 22 You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart.23 For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God. 24 As the Scriptures say, “People are like grass their beauty is like a flower in the field. The grass withers and the flower fades. 25. But the word of the Lord remains forever.” And that word is the Good News that was preached to you.”
 
Great scripture… now go back and read it from a personal point of view replacing the words “you” with words like “I” and “me”
Pretty amazing how that transformed his life. His testimony was preaching that Jesus is GOOD. To me, that’s a testimony that I want to learn from and listen to.
 
I’m going to challenge all of us to have people like that in our lives that we can listen to hear about the goodness of God. The world is full of negativity these days. I feel like all we hear is the negative things about God and life. If you are hearing that all the time… Change who you are listening to! Listen to the right things. In the first part…. That’s Jesus…. This second part is the people that Jesus has affected!
 
The story of how God works in people’s lives is one of the greatest things that we could ever listen to because it will give us a better understanding of who Jesus is and what he can do.
 
I preached this, this weekend, but this scripture still rings true to me. 2 Peter 1:16-19a, 16 For we were not making up clever stories when we told you about the powerful coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We saw his majestic splendor with our own eyes 17 when he received honor and glory from God the Father. The voice from the majestic glory of God said to him, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.”18 We ourselves heard that voice from heaven when we were with him on the holy mountain. 19 Because of that experience, we have even greater confidence in the message proclaimed by the prophets.”
 
His story shows us that he recognized that Jesus is Good on that mountain. We need to listen to him. Other people’s stories will show us that Jesus is Good because of how they have seen him. We need to listen to them.
 
When we listen in that way it does one simple thing for us…. It gives us greater confidence as verse 19 says and when we have greater confidence, that’s a better life.
 
So if you want a better life, listen to the right things. The right thing is Jesus and the people Jesus has affected. We can believe those are the right things because Jesus is God and Jesus is good. 
Let’s listen.